One in four women, and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime – ranging from coercive control to murder. All employers will have some people who have faced or are facing domestic abuse, either as victims, witnesses, or perpetrators. Many employers find that domestic abuse reduces performance at work, increases absenteeism and may lead to mental illness.
In 2012, it was estimated that the overall cost of gender-based violence to both victims and society in the UK is approximately £26 billion annually. This includes an estimated cost to the economy of £3.4 billion, due to absences from work resulting from injury. (The European Institute for Gender Equality, 2014).
When employers demonstrate that they are aware of domestic abuse, and make staff aware of the services that are available, this can help to reduce the wall of silence about domestic abuse that prevents many from seeking help.
Many employers’ leaders are already taking action in their organisations – for example developing policies on domestic abuse, raising awareness amongst employees, training senior staff, managers and ambassadors on how to identify those who may need help, sharing best practice with other employers, offering direct help to staff or signposting them to where it can be found.
We are a rapidly growing network of 245 companies and public sector organisations who have come together, to exchange information about best practice, and to encourage, promote and develop action to help staff who are enduring domestic abuse, or who are perpetrators. We work to also help those who witness or work colleagues who know support victim. We hold network meetings once a quarter at a central London venue on topics suggested by member employers.
– The Vodafone Foundation has funded a major research programme to understand barriers to action in the workplace, the findings were presented at a conference last year. Access the report here.
– The Insurance Charities have funded a Toolkit on domestic abuse for employers which has been created by Business in the Community and Public Health England.
– Inclusive Employers provides support to the initiative.
– the House of Commons is providing administrative support as well as hosting network meetings.
Would you be willing to help the Network to develop, by taking action for your staff and by sharing what you do with other employers? There is no joining fee. The only request is that you take action for your staff. If you would like to know more, please contact us.
The initiative has a steering group chaired by Elizabeth Filkin CBE.
Stephen Fletcher, Founder and CEO, the Leader’s Club, North-West
David Brech, Managing Partner, Agenda for Change, Gloucestershire
Frank Field, Member of Parliament for Birkenhead
Sir Stephen O’Brien, Convenor, Second Curve Network, Essex
Gillian Keegan, MP for Chichester
Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham, Yardley
Lord Birt, of Liverpool in the County of Merseyside.
Lord Collins, of Highbury
Dame Benny Refson D.B.E., President Place2Be.
Dame Inga Beale DBE, C.E.O. Lloyd’s of London
Steering Group members
Elizabeth Filkin C.B.E., Chair, Independent Advisory Group, Marston Group. (Formerly, Chair, Annington Homes, Several NEDs, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.)
Michael Naish, Treasurer (Formerly, Victim Support)
Sue Akers C.B.E, QPM (Formerly, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service.)
Fiona Cannon O.B.E., Group Director, Responsible Business and Inclusion, Lloyds Banking Group
Sir Martin Donnelly KCB, CMG (Formerly, Permanent Secretary, Department of International Trade.)
Helen Lamprell, General Counsel and External Affairs Director, Vodafone UK
Steve Maule, Head of Apprenticeships and Qualifications, Lookers plc.
Richard McKenna, Director, Inclusive Employers
Dr. Janet Reibstein, Psychologist. Prof Emerita, University of Exeter; Relate National Clinical Advisory Board; Faculty, The Child and Family Practice
Jabbar Sardar, HR Director, BBC Studios
Charlotte Sipi, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Manager, House of Commons
Jenny Watson C.B.E., NED Financial Ombudsman Service. (Formerly, Chair, U.K. Electoral Commission.)
Pamela Zaballa, Associate Director of Innovation and Partnerships, Hestia; Trustee, The Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Abuse
We are always looking for people who want to help with the initiative, contact us if you can support us.